Friday, September 11, 2009

New frontier....New York City (and beyond)

Three months after moving to Manhattan I am still just as enthralled as the day I arrived. OK, the day after I arrived since I arrived late at night with a horrid cold and admittedly a little overwhelmed and emotional. But once that was out of my system, my adventures in the City began!

I write this looking out my office window at rain blowing sideways with a probability of 100% wetness when I have to venture home later this afternoon. And I love it. I don't love the rain but I do love the intensity with which it falls here in New York. Same as the intense heat and humidity we experienced during the summer. Being sweaty and looking like a drowned rat is probably my LEAST favorite state of being but it was part of an east coast summer and with all the distractions of the city, it only really got to me when stuck underground waiting for a subway in the stagnant air of the B train tunnel. And secretly, I still loved that.

Swoon: to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy. A word I've used infrequently, if ever, but which is totally a pro pos in describing my elation at living in New York. Every day I can go to work a different way, whether it is walking through Central Park (pictured at left) or walking to Midtown and past all the high end shops on 5th Avenue & Madison. On the weekends, I have ridden my road bike to Staten Island, Greenwich (CT), Long Island (we almost made it to Montauk save for Huricane Danny), Bear Mountain and Nyack. I've met some great new friends as well as reconnected with old ones. We've taken weekend trips to Nantucket and to Montauk and have set my sights on trips back to Boston to visit my good friend and her newly arriving baby and down to Annapolis for the arrival of baby Farrar.

<---that's my apartment building...we are on the top floor.
The culinary experience is absolutely intense...if you eat poorly in New York, it's your own fault. It's like throwing a target at an elephant...the probability of a miss is miniscule. From the grilled corn cuban cafe on the corner to the upper crust likes of Convivio and Per Se, food is an event...and so are the libations that accompany it. Whenever my best friend would come home to San Diego and ask where we were eating and if it was any good, I just thought maybe she was picky or being snobish, but now, I get it. My family and friends are visiting over the course of the next few months and I can't wait to introduce them to some of the fantastic eateries the city has to offer.

Daily someone asks how I could have left San Diego and moved to New York. I just did and I have never looked back. San Diego offers beautiful beaches, my parents (and their lovely home where they graciously let me live for 8 months), my best friends (Jim, Saba, Erin), gorgeous and challenging mountain ranges, and the laidback lifestyle of Southern California. I don't take that for granted, but it's not appealing to me at this point in my life. I know I will always go back to visit but am not sure I'll end up there.

Riding the subway or just walking down the streets forcibly establishes the diversity of the world that surrounds us. As a blonde, I am unique in this city (love that). I bring my current book or New York Mag on the train with me but find myself more intrigued by people watching than the text in front of me. It reminds me of my year in Madrid where I found every one stared and now I'm that creepy person! It makes me smile. The streets are filled with the aromas and languages of so many different ethnicities and the retail stores and restaurants are representative of the same. A silly smile constantly creeps up on my face as I wander around doing errands, running to the gym or to work or simply strolling slowly home.

Last weekend was an intense bike riding great friend from college has introduced me to many of her cycling friends and they conjured up a pretty challenging ride on Saturday. It was 75 miles with over 6,000 feet of elevation, 85 degrees and humid and really freaking hard. We rode from Manhattan through New Jersey to Bear Mountain (that's us at the top...VERY happy to have made it) with three huge climbs in the middle and a ride through Harriman State Park (beautiful). We made it to the end...possibly because I was focused on the "prize" in Cold Springs: Dogfish Head beers! And then took the Metro North train back to Grand Central. What a fun adventure! We rode again on Monday and did River Road (Lance Armstrong has been known to do repeats on this hill) and if I hadn't done the Saturday ride, I would have thought it was very challenging (shows you how HARD Saturday was) and ended up in Piermont. The East Coast towns are so cute and charming...great little coffee shops and stores to explore. We stopped for great muffins and coffee before heading back to the city.

This week we went to the US Open and were fortunate to see Serena Williams and Rafa Nadal play...the Nadal match from last night was suspended due to rain and given the view out our window, I doubt they'll resume play until tomorrow at the earliest. Regardless, it was a phenomenal experience and so much fun. Donald Trump, Nicole Kidman/Keith Urban, Michael Phelps, Tony Bennett, etc. were in attendance (although sitting very far away in superior seats).

My parents come next weekend, which will be fun - can't wait to introduce them to my life in the city and take them to a few fun restaurants for dinner and show them my petite apartment. My bed is a spectacle in itself...I have my rack raisers from college and my bed is lifted literally 5 feet in the air. To get in I have to hoist myself up from my nightstand! A small family could live under my bed and I could put some really tall/skinny family on the shelving above my bed...ah, New York City living....

Tonight I'm off to evening cocktails at the W in Union Square and tomorrow will be a bike ride (or gym if this sideways downpour continues) and then Brooklyn Bowl with a group of friends in the evening....the adventures continue.

Till the next one.....JEG.